BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - After playing at LSU from 1999 to 2003, Ronald Dupree will be honored as an SEC Legend Friday during halftime of the Tigers' game at the SEC Tournament in Nashville.
Dupree's passion for the game of basketball and the LSU Tigers runs deep. It's been abundantly clear as a player and now as a student assistant coach.
"Somebody asked if he was our 'hype' man," said head coach Johnny Jones. "They wanted to know if he was 'The Hype Man' and I said 'No, he just gets excited.'"
"His slaps on the back in huddles are very hard," laughed junior guard Keith Hornsby.
"If you watch any games, he's always standing up, he's never sitting down, said sophomore forward Jarell Martin.
"Being on this coaching staff and having more of a connection to the guys it just naturally comes out. Whether it be the Saints or our football team, I'm very passionate for the teams I love," said Dupree.
Under head coach John Brady, Dupree was a member of two NCAA Tournament teams including a Sweet 16 squad. He was extremely versatile and could do a little bit of everything.
"Aggressive, could jump. Loved the team and loved my teammates," said Dupree.
Despite being undrafted, Dupree fought and survived for six years in the NBA. When those days came to an end, he traveled far and wide and just kept playing.
Dupree went overseas and played in Germany and Italy. He played in Argentina for a month, and eventually went on to Israel and Jerusalem.
The long journey has returned Dupree to LSU, where he plans to graduate in the spring with a degree in Electrical Engineering.
"It feels good. I tell you that much. To be able to accomplish this it's something I've had over my head to do. I wanted to finish and have an opportunity in May," said Dupree.
But Dupree's true focus and vision is to one day become a college head coach.
"Yes. No doubt. I think the greatest reason for me to want to be a coach is the impact I can have on young players and on young men," said Dupree.
"Great demeanor, work habits, attention to detail," said Jones about Dupree. "Very conscientious as he continues to grow and progress and continue to mature in the sport, he's going to be really good."
"Just being a sponge man. I do a lot more listening than talking," added Dupree.
However, for the moment Dupree is enjoying the ride this current LSU team is taking him on.
"I love LSU. I really do. And I just want to see the program where it should be, and it should be an elite program year in and year out," said Dupree.